As a family carer, you devote a lot of time looking after your loved one that you often forget about taking care of yourself. It can very easily be done and cause negative effects. It is important to realise when you are getting burnt out and need to take a break. Family carers tend to ‘just keep going’, until finally they ‘hit the wall’ and can go no further. If you can spot some signs early that indicate you should slow down and take a break, you will find that you stay more healthy and balanced, both physically and mentally, over the long run.
Below are the top 5 signs that you need some time off to recharge.
1. Troubles relaxing – It is important to have your time off and take a nap. If you lie awake, unable to relax and definitely can’t get to sleep, this is a sure sign that you need a break!
2. Irritable – where did the sweet person that you know you really are go? Cranky, impatient and irritable over the smallest things. Things that normally would not bother you, like getting caught up in the supermarket behind a slow trolley, is sure to make you want to scream!
3. Helplessness – we all have feelings of being helpless at times, but when these feelings just do not pass then you should accept that you are tired and ready for a break. Feeling helpless and hopeless when things are all going smoothly is a sign that you need a rest.
4. Less energy – does it feel like an impossible task to get out of bed in the morning? Do you dread the thought of going up the stairs yet again? And do you most definitely not want to go for a walk on your break? Then this may very well be the sign of energy loss. Less energy is an indication that things are getting on top of you and you need to slow down.
5. If having a pedicure or making art is what you like to do to wind down, and you realise that it’s been ages since you’ve done it, ask yourself why. If you seem to be neglecting yourself and your own needs, then the time has come to rethink your situation.
Once you are burnt out, caring is no longer the best thing for you or your loved one, so it is important that you address your physical state soon as possiblle and act on it sooner rather than later. That way, both you and your loved one can be more relaxed and at ease together.
There are ways that you can take a break before it is too late. The first thing to do is to talk to someone. Talk to a friend, the district nurse or your GP.